Classification society Germanischer Lloyd (GL) is offering container carriers additional flexibility to load more containers on deck, while maintaining required safety levels.
With new route specific loading calculations, GL can assist container lines to accelerate cargo operations in ports and maintain a higher degree of loading flexibility.
Based on long-term statistical data on wave conditions, GL has developed a new class notation for route dependent container stowage, which reflects realistic routes for the determination of loads on the deck containers and their lashing systems. A route dependent container stowage scheme takes into account that sea conditions vary depending on the chosen sea lanes.
Currently, the international standard is to design a vessel for 20 years of operation in the North Atlantic and the same assumptions are applied for the design of lashing systems as well. The new GL class notation takes into account, that in reality a vessel will not operate exclusively in the North Atlantic but will also sail in relatively calm regions for a considerable amount of its operational lifetime. Applying long-term statistics, it is possible to derive equivalent safety margins for the determination of loads on the deck containers and their lashing systems for specific routes.
The new class notation for route dependent container stowage will be available for all GL classed container vessels. When applying this scheme, the cargo arrangement will enable heavier boxes to be loaded on the upper tiers of deck stacks, more units loaded on the outer stacks, and even an additional tier of empty containers where line of sight is not affected.
GL's analysis of the wave loads on a typical Asia to Europe route for a mega-boxer vessel has revealed the potential of departing from the traditional load rules for unrestricted service. While retaining the same safety levels, it will be not only possible to allow for the addition of an extra tier but to implement more flexible weight distribution and real container weights. This flexibility gives operators the potential to increase the number of loadable containers they are able to carry and reduce the number of empty containers transported as well as more flexible cargo planning and therefore faster stowage.
With the new route dependent container stowage scheme GL offers container lines a tailor-made container stowage and loading plan for an individual vessel and its particular route. The new scheme requires lashing software which will assist the cargo planer, as well as the crew, in providing safe stowage and lashing, while giving greater flexibility to take advantage of opportunities whenever they might occur.
GL is currently in discussions with all relevant stakeholders and will have "route specific loading" in place by the second quarter of 2013.